In what has to be the most epic week for PR screw ups, Sean Spicer has managed to top two of the the worst branding disasters in living memory with a line so spectacularly ignorant and offensive that you wonder whether he is a Democratic mole working to make Trump even stupider than he already appears.
While briefing reporters today on U.S. relations with Russia after Syria’s use of chemical weapons against its own people, Spicer told a no doubt gobsmacked audience that even Hitler “didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons.”
“We didn’t use chemical weapons in World War II,” he said. “You know, you had someone as despicable as Hitler who didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons, so you have to, if you’re Russia, ask yourself: ‘Is this a country that you, and a regime, that you want to align yourself with?’”
It’s hard to say what the worse sin is — Spicer’s breathtaking lack of knowledge of what has to be the most studied event in human history, or the inadvertent implication that Jews gassed to death were not actually German citizens. Given he’d have to have lived under a rock not to know about the 6 million Jews murdered with chemical agents like Zyklon B, his slip up most likely happened because he doesn’t see beyond the ethnocentric world view of his boss. Because how could Jews be German, and how can Muslims be American?
Spicer will try to play this off as a slip of the tongue, but the damage is done and he deserves everything the internet threw at Pepsi and United Airlines — and probably more.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.